On the mount…there is a manual that no one can reach
When God sets up a system but we ignore it in our process of living, we become weary in well-doing.
God doesn’t say to Israel that they are to observe rest in this passage. He already told them that. Whether they are in the land or out of the land they are to observe rest. It is mandatory. But once they are in the land, there are certain requirements that they are to keep in order to ensure that the land will work for them. They are to allow the land itself to have a period of rest. We call it a sabbatical. Every seven years, the land is due a complete year of rest from labor. As if that is not enough, every 49 years both people and land culminate in a complete release. It’s a freedom that is unprecedented (the women are blushing).
What does all of this mean?
Life was not meant to continue from day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year, decade to decade mundanely. There are suppose to be weekly breaks, holiday breaks, a particular year to look forward to and a decade to hold your breath for. There must be something worth laboring for, and God calls it “rest”.
You labor to get into the resting spot because it will rejuvenate you, energize you, and alter you. It will change the pattern of your life, and then it will change your life. Changes in life are essential, actually mandatory. God uses “pit-stops” to create change. Perhaps pit-stops are opportunites for reflection. But with a broken system, we miss our opportunities, and broken appointments cause dis-appointment and depression. We’ve lost the tools and the mechanisms to create enough changes in a lifetime to make a life worth living. That is why we are often restless, feel incredible tension, have difficulty releasing and being released.
There is a system in place, but we’ve lost it. The text tells us that it exists. God understands what we need, but we’ve lost the manual that interprets the manual we have.
On the mount…sits a king who is blocking the way
There is never a time when God has not developed a solution to a problem. He understands that problems come. He does not withhold his mercy. But often when he gives his mercy, those responsible for distributing it burn with jealousy and neglect to give the solution because it means that they will be out of a job. What a hard truth to swallow.
The people depend upon the word of the Lord. When it is withheld from them it is a very evil thing. In this passage, the king heard the words that Jerimiah spoke as if he, himself, had spoken them aloud. The dictation from God to Jeremiah allowed the king to hear the excact tone in which God was speaking. But the king burned Jeremiahs’s words bit by bit. Every word that was given became burned until the entire scroll was gone.
The king stood between God and the people and made a decision that was detrimental. It would have been better if he had not heard the dictation than it was for him to hear it, listen to it, and burn it. He made himself judge over whether or not the people would hear the word of the Lord. In so doing, God’s wrath was kindled and the people were not permitted to appease God’s wrath because the never heard the solution.
Withholding the word of the Lord is detrimental to the health of the body. Pit stops are opportunities to make necessary changes. The leader who withholds the instructions for the change causes the people to fall into the pit instead of stopping just short of it.
Jesus was a king in disguise. He came disguised so that he could stand on the mount and teach the instructions long enough for the people to hear him. But when it became clear that he really was a king, they dragged him down from the mount and killed him.
Jesus declared the time. He read to the people and gave them understanding and told them where they were in time. Isaiah had written down all that God told him to say and his words were lost, blocked by kings who burned those words and wouldn’t allow them to get out of his chamber. But then came Jesus who found the words again; the words to reach a lost generation. Jesus brought back to life a dictation that had been given so long ago. He brought forth the resurrected word and when he read the words aloud and believed in them he said, “this word is for right now.”
Essentially, he was saying, that it was not too late to live again, to capture words that were dropped to the ground. He, in fact, was the very word he was talking about!